PIYE - news from Israel
The Polish Intercultural Youth Encounters (PIYE) program is the Museum’s oldest annual educational endeavor. Its aim is to allow young people from Poland and Israel to get to know the complex history of their nations and their contemporary culture. From August to September the Museum hosted students from both countries, and at the beginning of October we embarked on the second stage of the program - the Polish students’ departure for Tel Aviv University.
In Tel Aviv, the Polish exchange students take part in classes taught by lecturers from some of the world’s most prestigious universities. They study the history and culture of the Jews and Israel, and attend Hebrew courses. They are also able to pursue their passions and interests. Apart from their university work, they take advantage of city life, growing familiar with Israeli culture and customs. Befitting from the support of their Israeli colleagues, the Polish group also explores the country and takes part in traditional ceremonies, such as Shabbat dinners.
Many of them write blogs on which they share their insights. Below, we cite two fragments of their reflections, describing their first impressions of Israel.
“Life in Tel Aviv. Professors with PhD's from the world’s best universities ask us to address them by name. They give us their e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, trying to remember everyone’s name, even those that are nearly impossible for them to pronounce. An hour after the lecture, they send us e-mails with texts, kindly asking us to read them and offering to answer all of our questions, should we have any. They say they want to teach us critical thinking, that interaction and live discussion is what we come here for, and that information as such is dry and available to anyone who wants to find it on the internet. And after six hours of class we want to keep going, keep reading, keep talking, keep thinking.”
“It’s been exactly twenty days since we arrived in Israel, but we still can’t shake off the impression. New faces in hundreds of cultural arrangements, pattern-like writing, unceasing heat and prices that leave one breathless [...]. This is the Israel of our first weeks - although we should probably be more precise and say Tel Aviv. This curious “city state” in which we’ve come to study, furtively enjoying life, keeps offering up ever new surprises. From the outpouring of luxury and big business in the south, to the quiet streets of Arab Jaffa in the west - everything is full of life.”
The student exchange project runs until December 20, 2013. We wish all the participants a fruitful stay!
The project is a joint initiative of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland - the institution responsible for producing the Museum’s Core Exhibition.
Project supported by:
Mr. Ygal Ozechov
Mr. Tomek Ulatowski